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Poulsbo's sewers in need of fix
"POULSBO - Costly wastewater infrastructure upgrades in Poulsbo are a bitter pill which the city has been unable to swallow for years. Nonetheless, the growing problem isn't something that can be flushed or forgotten. As the expense of repairs and improvements continues to float upward, so does the need for a more reliable system that will serve the city well into the new millennium. I think everyone is somewhat aware that we need to upgrade our wastewater infrastructure, explained Bill Duffy, public works superintendent. Pipelines on 6th and 9th avenues are over 50 years old, Duffy said, adding that they are presently at the end of their expected life cycle. Cracks in the lines have led to serious inflow and infiltration problems, which, as a result, have routinely stuck the city with inflated wastewater treatment bills from Kitsap County. That is the oldest portion of our system, Duffy said of the 6th Avenue area. Poulsbo is currently working to address inflow and infiltration issues in that neighborhood, but construction improvements at 9th Avenue and SR 305 likely won't take place until early 2002 - provided the money is there. We're sizing the math. It's a tough struggle, Duffy admitted. We're trying to figure out the shortfalls. One way to save money, he proposed, was to coincide the work on SR 305 with the Department of Transportation's planned highway widening project. Doing the two at the same time would negate the city's having to pre-dig or re-dig in order to put the new system in place. It's a great opportunity to get this done at the same time as the road, councilwoman Connie Lord agreed. Another option is to enlist financial support from the upcoming Olhava development on Poulsbo's northwest end. The new expansion will include a branch campus for Olympic College and certainly will impact the city's wastewater output, Duffy pointed out. There are a number of things we can do up there, he remarked. What we want to do is serve as many people as we possibly can at the lowest cost to the city. In addition to service issues, local pump stations are also aging and in need of replacement, he noted. The Lindvig station was recently upgraded and although pump capacity at the Marine Science Center will get a 25 percent boost later this month, the city is still swamped in additional wastewater issues. The city's central interceptor on State Highway 305 is having problems as area lines continue to run at or near capacity, Duffy explained, noting that the planned improvements to the system on SR 305 would help address these issues. One of the preferred solutions would not only split the hydraulic needs of the city, but will also create a redundant and flexible alternative for the future. As if things weren't hectic enough, Poulsbo is currently in the midst of responding to mandates set forth by the Growth Management Act and must plan for the 8,000 new residents expected to locate here in the next 20 years. The end result is an overflowing plate for the public works department, no matter where they choose to dig in. "